A week and a bit ago we had our church event and I ran a Photo Booth [you can read more here if you like]. It was great fun and it gave me an excuse to pick up a soft box to use with my flash (and a stand for it). Along with the Fuji x100t and the Instax printer, it was great fun. All this meant that I now have a soft box, stand, flash and a wireless trigger for my flash ? that’s prefect for some basic portraits.
Unlike the event, I decided it was time to pull my Olympus OM-D EM-1 out (blow of the dust) and take some photos. I used the 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro (as it is an incredible lens) and the 40 (80mm 35mm equivalent) would help my block out many of the distractions in my flat. The FL-LM2 can wirelessly communicate with the FL-600r and even do TTL lighting which is great for noobs…like me.
I tried moving the light around and I used my phone with the Olympus image share app to get into position. The results are above.
Portraits of my Wife
With my wife, I wanted to take some similar images but use a bit more softer light so she didn’t look so menacing. This time I could of course move around a bit more. This meant that I could use my reflector to soften the light.
I edited both of these in lightroom using RAW files and actually playing around a fair bit. It’s strange that with my fuji and street photos, I like to do the bare minimum of photo editing with perhaps some exposure adjustment and brightening the shadows sometime…but that’s about it. With portraits, I messed with the tone curve a bit, tried some filters (which I didn’t like)
Lessons and thoughts going forward
Portraits and lighting is fun
In a way this is the complete opposite of street (well traditional street) and yet I find it great fun. Portraits require you to coax out reactions from your subject. To carefully set things up so that you show the best of people. There are still similarities though with light being your tool, the power of “the moment” even when people are posing, working the scene and so on.
4/3 in portrait is great
When I was shooting with my olympus mostly for street, I found the 4/3 perspective to be a little strange as it was very square. I much prefered the 3/2 perspective from my Fuji. However, When you switch to portrait perspective, 4/3 suddenly seems to make sense to me. 3/2 stretches things too much for my liking, a square is a bit plain, but 4/3 strikes a great balance (to my eyes. Feel free to disagree)
It makes me want to try medium format
Linked to that, I want to try medium format now. I know you can get 4/3 size sensors and the extra dynamic range and quality really appeals for portraits. I read Bill Wadman’s review of his Pentax and It hooked me in.
At the same time, I know that often MOAR PIXELS is rarely the answer, and that a bigger camera would have it’s own downsides. Plus I find the quality from my Olympus to be really quite good. I’m sure someone could point out some issues with it but I was deeply surprised at how great the images looked. I also suspect that there is better gear (a second speedlight?) that I could pick up (and for a lot less).
So I’m playing with some portraiture, I’d love some advice and resources that you know of (and if you’d like your portrait taken. Let me know)